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What is bipolar I disorder?

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Bipolar I disorder (pronounced "bipolar one" and also known as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression) is a form of mental illness. A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.

Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. Often, there is a pattern of cycling between mania and depression. This is where the term "manic depression" comes from. In between episodes of mania and depression, many people with bipolar I disorder can live normal lives.

From: Bipolar I Disorder WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Moore, D. Mosby, 2004. National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Bipolar Disorder."  Medical News Today: "Study Identifies Predictors Of Bipolar Disorders Risk." WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Bipolar Disorder -- What Increases Your Risk." Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.




Handbook of Medical Psychiatry,

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on November 08, 2017

SOURCES: Moore, D. Mosby, 2004. National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Bipolar Disorder."  Medical News Today: "Study Identifies Predictors Of Bipolar Disorders Risk." WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Bipolar Disorder -- What Increases Your Risk." Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.




Handbook of Medical Psychiatry,

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on November 08, 2017

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Who is at risk for bipolar I disorder?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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